North Carolina Bathrooms: Limits Transsexuals, But GWU Has Better Solution
Pioneering All-Gender Facility Transformation is a Win, Win, Win for Everyone
WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 25, 2016): Major corporations are reportedly outraged that North Carolina has just become the latest jurisdiction to ban transgender people from using the restroom of their choice to protect the privacy of women and girls who might otherwise have to share a facility with an anatomic male.
But GWU’s pioneering new “All Gender” multi-user restroom solves the problem in a unique way which provides a win, win, win for everyone – transgender people, females concerned about privacy, and corporations wary of the costs of single-user coed restrooms, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf.
Legal activist John Banzhaf has won over 100 legal actions aimed at illegal discrimination based upon gender and other factors, and has been dubbed the “Father of Potty Parity” for his successes in reducing the unequal waiting times to use public men’s and women’s restrooms.
North Carolina Bathrooms
Some have argued that the only way to satisfy the needs of transgender people to use restrooms which do not require them to identify with a gender which is unnatural for them, while at the same time not forcing women and girls to share restrooms with anatomic males – with concerns not only about privacy, but the very real threat about sexual assault – is to construct more single-user coed restrooms.
But that’s an expensive and inefficient use of scarce office space, and it may be prohibitively expensive to retrofit such restrooms and their plumbing into already constructed buildings, says Banzhaf.
What GWU has done is much better. It took a typical male restroom – with 3 urinals, a toilet inside a lockable stall, etc. – and simply added a lock to the outside door and relabeled it “All Gender.”
Most of the time it functions like any other male restroom, with several men able to use the urinals at the same time, and with the outside door unlocked – as it is at the nearby female restroom.
However, on those rare occasions where anyone – transgender, female, or any person perhaps with paruresis (shy bladder syndrome) – wishes to use the facility, and feels the need for more privacy than the lockable toilet stall provides, he or she can simply lock the outside door and keep everyone else out.
Since this happens only rarely, and then for only a very brief period of time, there’s little inconvenience to males waiting to the use the facility, and certainly much less inconvenience and wait than if it had been made into a single-user restroom of the type found on virtually all commercial airlines.
This novel but easy-to-implement and virtually-cost-free solution to what seemed to be a vexing problem has been reported in several publications, but so far nobody else has tried to emulate it.
North Carolina Bathrooms – The transformed restroom works very well with no major inconvenience to anyone, says Banzhaf, who uses it especially when there are special activities in the nearby moot courtroom where, during breaks in the events, there may be a sudden dash to use the restroom before the program resumes.
JOHN F. BANZHAF III, B.S.E.E., J.D., Sc.D.
Professor of Public Interest Law
George Washington University Law School